"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

When hauled in from deep waters, snapper, grouper and other bottomfish often suffer from a ruptured or distended swim bladder—recognizable by their everted stomach. However, scientists from Florida's Mote Marine Laboratory (www.mote.org) have proven there is a fast and effective way of releasing gas from fish, called "venting," which helps the fish swim back to its natural habitat. Here's how it's done. 1) A large hypodermic needle, without the plunger, makes an excellent venting tool. A small, hollow aluminum tube cut at a 45-degree angle at the tip for sharpness, and placed in a drilled-out wooden dowel (for a handle) works well, too.Bob Mcnally
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

2) Place the fish on its right side, and lay its pectoral fin flat against its body. Use the venting tool to gently raise a scale on the fish's side near the tip of the pectoral fin.Bob Mcnally
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

3) Slowly insert the venting tool into the fish under the scale, at a shallow angle toward the head. Do not jab or deeply penetrate the fish. As the tool is inserted, an audible hiss of air should be heard as the gases are released. Some fish must have their bodies gently depressed to allow all gas to escape through the venting tool. Once the gas has been vented, release the fish, and it should be able to dive immediately. Biologists have determined that venting wounds and ruptured swim bladders heal within four days, with no ill effects to fish.Bob Mcnally
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

4) Be sure to properly clean venting tools after use. This keeps bacteria and the risk of infections to a minimum.Bob Mcnally
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

FINALIST Anna MacInnis, 9
Melbourne, Florida Anna loves to fish with her dad for redfish and trout. Her biggest redfish was 43 inches long, and her biggest trout was 31 inches, plus she has won three kids saltwater fishing tournaments. But Anna's most important accomplishments have been as a volunteer. She and her dad, Paul MacInnis, teach a class on fishing safety at Hook Kids on Fishing seminars all over the state of Florida. They have taught fishing safety to over 2,000 kids and their parents. Now that's something to brag about! Find out how to nominate your Salt Water Kid here!
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

FINALIST Jackson Cox, 6
Austin, Texas During spring break, 6-year-old Jackson sat on the dock all day with his 6-pound-test Zebco, free-lining fresh dead shrimp on the bottom instead of playing with his friends. After he caught a few catfish over a few hours, Jackson (left) started screaming for help, his little Zebco bent over and the line peeling out. After an hour-and-a-half fight, with the whole neighborhood cheering him on, Jackson landed this 41-pound black drum, which he named Big Ugly. After taking some pictures, he let Big Ugly go to fight another day.
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

FINALIST Patricia Ferrer, 12
San Juan, Puerto Rico Patrica's father, Gonzalo Ferrer Jr., appeared in Salt Water Sportsman's 50th anniversary issue, in 1989, with the 56-pound white marlin he'd caught in Cozumel, Mexico, at the age of 8, in 1977. Gonzalo Jr. and his father, Gonzalo Ferrer Sr., recently took Patricia (center) and her cousin, Gabriel Pi'ol (right), 14, to Iztapa, Guatemala, where the kids caught and released 25 Pacific sailfish each, most of them in the 100-pound range. Gonzalo Sr. says his two grandchildren are now full-fledged light-tackle anglers. Sounds like a trait that runs in the family.
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

Chase Scarborough, age 13, and Kyle Scarborough, age 11
Orlando Florida
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

Sam Northup, age 11
Asheville NC
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

Mathew Nichols,age 14, and Mason Nichols, age 16
McIntosh County, Georgia
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

Nicholas Chen, 13 years old
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

Andrew Stokes, age 6
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

John William Antonio III, age 6
New Castle, DE
"Vent" A Fish

"Vent" A Fish

Joey Find out how to nominate your Salt Water Kid here!